Aussies show Saints their brand of hoops

Published 7:55 am Wednesday, December 22, 2010


SUFFOLK—Nansemond-Suffolk Academy played a good host, perhaps too good, to its Australian visitors Wednesday evening as the Brisbane Boomerangs swept a basketball doubleheader over the Saints.

Brisbane, on the last stop of a tour of high schools around North Carolina and Virginia, beat the Lady Saints 56-40 and the Saints 72-46.

In the first game, NSA and Brisbane went back and forth until the final period when the Boomerangs went on a 12-0 run over a four-minute span of the fourth.

With good ball movement and a well-schooled offense, Brisbane repeatedly got the ball inside. The Boomerangs made their first five field goal attempts, mostly from point blank range off of sharp assists, to take a 12-7 lead.

Brisbane continued to a 20-14 lead after a quarter. A pair of three-pointers by Morgan Lokie was the main answer keeping NSA close.

NSA’s defense clamped down in the second period, forcing Brisbane to keep the ball around the perimeter.

Kaylor Nash finished two lay-ups on inbound passes from Macy Mears to tie the game and a driving basket by Lokie put NSA up 22-20.

Brisbane scored its only points of the period with 1:12 to go and NSA took a 23-22 lead to the half.

NSA held on to a small lead through most of the third period. Nash, the only reserve head coach Kim Aston uses extensively, scored a bucket and two free throws to put NSA up 31-28. Brisbane scored the last six points of the quarter and kept the momentum into the last period.

The Boomerangs found the same formula they started the game with, being able to get the ball to a post player right in the low post for baskets or NSA fouls. Brisbane attempted two three-pointers and was 12-for-16 (75 percent) at the line for the game.

“I wouldn’t say they did anything different, but they played very well together and moved the ball. They looked like a team that’s played together for a long time,” Aston said.

“We were really in the game until four minutes left then we fell apart turning the ball over,” Aston said.

Lokie led NSA (3-3) with 11 points. Nash had nine points and 10 rebounds. Sarah Baldwin had eight points and seven rebounds.

“I think it’s good to play versus teams like this. Fundamentally, there won’t be many teams we play as sound as (Brisbane). They make free throws, handle the ball well and do everything well fundamentally. I definitely would do this again if we have the chance,” Aston said.

The boys contest turned into rout for the Aussies in the second period. Again, Brisbane was efficient and shot very well early in the game.

NSA’s three-point shooting kept it close early. Breon Willie hit two treys in the early minutes but Brisbane started out 7-for-10 from the field including a couple threes for a 17-11 lead at a Saint timeout with 2:40 left in the first.

With a three-pointer, then a steal and breakaway lay-in, scored five points in the last 0:15 of the quarter for a 25-15 lead. Brisbane kept rolling to a 44-24 halftime lead.

Whether it’s a different custom or just because the first half went so well, the Boomerangs went without a halftime talk or even leaving their bench. Instead, they had a casual 10-minute shoot-around during halftime.

The Saints put a 7-0 run up early in the third period but that was the only dent NSA made into Brisbane’s lead.

Willie led NSA (1-3) with 15 points. Harrison Spalding had 13 points and nine boards. Chris Sharrett had seven assists.

Six-foot-5 junior Nicholas Fane had 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Boomerangs. Reserve guard Elliott Mundy made five three-pointers and scored 17 points in all.